KOCHI l THURSDAY l JULY 16, 2020 l `7.00 l PAGES 16 l LATE CITY EDITION ELECTION COMMISSIONER LAVASA NAMED V-P OF ADB 2ND PERSON TO LEAVE POLL PANEL MID-WAY Ashok Lavasa was next in line to head the poll panel. He can take the new job only after resigning from his current position Lavasa, who would have retired as the Chief Election Commissioner in October 2022, would be the second election commissioner to step down from the poll panel before the completion of his term. The last time an election commission put in his papers was in 1973 when CEC Nagendra Singh was appointed a judge in the International Court of Justice, Hague ■ CEC HAD OPPOSED CLEAN CHIT TO MODI, SHAH ■ During the 2019 LS polls, Lavasa dissented with ECI’s decision to give clean chit to PM Narendra Modi and former BJP president Amit Shah on charges of violating Model Code of Conduct Election Commission sources said Lavasa is yet to resign from the poll body as he is due to join the ADB only in September SUSHIL CHANDRA WILL NOW BE THE NEXT IN THE LINE FOR THE TOP POST CHENNAI ■ MADURAI ■ VIJAYAWADA ■ BENGALURU ■ KOCHI ■ HYDERABAD ■ VISAKHAPATNAM ■ COIMBATORE ■ KOZHIKODE ■ THIRUVANANTHAPURAM ■ BELAGAVI ■ BHUBANESWAR ■ SHIVAMOGGA ■ MANGALURU ■ TIRUPATI ■ TIRUCHY ■ TIRUNELVELI ■ SAMBALPUR ■ HUBBALLI ■ DHARMAPURI ■ KOTTAYAM ■ KANNUR ■ VILLUPURAM ■ KOLLAM ■ WARANGAL ■ TADEPALLIGUDEM ■ NAGAPATTINAM ■ THRISSUR ■ KALABURAGI Notice issued to rebels, Gehlot goes for the kill R A J E S H A S N A N I @ Jaipur A DAY after taking away all party and government positions from Sachin Pilot and his loyalist lawmakers to crush their revolt, Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot went for the kill, as Assembly Speaker C P Joshi slapped disqualification notices on them. It also brought clarity on the size of the rebellion, as notices were served on 19 lawmakers, holding them accountable for anti-party activities for skipping two back-to-back Congress Legislative Party (CLP) meetings. They have till Friday noon to respond in writing. Pilot was Gehlot’s deputy and PCC president till the axe fell. Rajasthan Cong ress in charg e Avinash Pandey turned the screw further, saying if the 19 MLAs do not respond within two days, it will be presumed that they are giving up their CLP membership. While the dominant Gehlot camp hopes a few rebels would jump ship, it expects the disqualification of the rest will bring down the simple majority mark in the Assembly (101 now) and help clear the floor test. Gehlot claimed he already has the support of 106, including allies and Independents. For his part, Pilot said he had no plans of joining the BJP. “I would like to make it clear that I have no plans to join the BJP Pilot said. ,” But Gehlot was rather blunt in his counter. “Horse-trading was being done in Jaipur in Don blinks, lets foreign students have visa P U S H K A R B A N A K A R @ New Delhi FOLLOWING outrage and several lawsuits. the Donald Trump administration on Tuesday rescinded the order that would have barred the entry of foreign students, with full online classes, into the US. The Immigration and Custom Enforcement, in an order on July 6, had said no foreign students would be allowed to continue residence or enter the US if their classes had shifted completely to online mode due to the coronavirus pandemic. The move was likely to affect thousands of Indian students. Following the order, Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Te ch n o l o g y o n Ju ly 8 dragged the Trump administration to court saying that the order was both reckless and unlawful. On Tuesday, before the hearing in a Boston district court, the judge announced that the US government and the two universities had come to an agreement to drop the new guidelines and restore status quo. 16 PAGES, INCLUDING 4 PAGES OF KOCHI EXPRESS Our deputy CM and PCC president himself was doing the deal and giving statements that there was no horse-trading... Speaking good English or giving a byte is not everything Ashok Gehlot, chief minister the run up to the Rajya Sabha elections. We have proof. We had to keep people at a hotel for 10 days at that point. If we had not done that, the same thing that is happening in Manesar now would have happened back then,” the chief minister pointed out. As for the Congress high command, it wanted all the rebels to refuse the BJP’s hospitality in Haryana’s Manesar resort and return, if there was to be any possibility of raproachment. “Stop all conversations with them (BJP) and come back to your home in Jaipur,” Congress spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala told Pilot. NIA, Customs turn the screws on Sivasankar Sleuths seize his mobile phone during nine-hour interrogation, raid his apartment for the second time EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE Oppn wants CM to oust ex-secy @ T’Puram THE noose is tightening around Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan’s former secretary M Sivasankar, who was grilled by the Customs department for nine hours on Tuesday. Piling pressure on him, Arun Balachandran, the CM’s former IT Fellow, revealed that he had arranged rented apartment for gold-smuggling case accused Swapna Suresh and two others, on the instruction of Sivasankar. Arun was removed from the post in the evening. The Customs had seized Sivasankar’s mobile phone on Tuesday night itself and it will be sent to the C-DAC for forensic examination to retrieve Apartment used by gold smuggling accused Swapna Suresh was taken on rent with Sivasankar’s help, says the CM’s former IT Fellow Arun Balachandran Opposition targets Pinarayi Vijayan for his refusal to suspend his former secretary despite enough evidence data and find out if it was tampered with. On Wednesday the , department raided Sivasankar’s flat for the second time. Further, the NIA raided Kerala State IT Infrastructure LAC TALKS WERE TOUGH, DRAGGED ON FOR 14 HRS M AYA N K S I N G H @ New Delhi A day after the 14-hour marathon meeting of the Lieutenant General-level commanders of India and China, there is no official word on its outcome, indicating the tough nature of the talks. The Army is still analysing the discussions, which began on Tuesday 11:30am and stretched up to Wednesday 2am, sources said. A senior Army officer said, “Internal deliberations are still on. Only after that can something concrete be said.” Depsang and Finger 4 were the important stress points for deliberations during the meeting between Indian Ar- Chief Secretary Vishwas Mehta is expected to submit a report on Sivasankar soon. CM says the report won’t be delayed National Investigation Agency raided Kerala State IT Infrastructure Limited, which was headed by Sivasankar and where Swapna Suresh worked my’s Lt Gen Harinder Singh and Major Gen Lin Liu of the Chinese PLA at Chushul. Meanwhile, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh has decided to visit the frontlines both at the Line of Actual Control with China and the Line of Control with Pakistan on July 17 and 18. A person aware of the developments said Singh may announce the salient points of LAC deliberations when he visits Leh on July 17. On Wednesday, a Defence Acquisition Council meeting chaired by Singh granted special powers to the armed forces to purchase weapons and equipment worth up to `300 crore to meet their emergent operational requirements. Police assault Dalit couple; Collector, SP suspended long and had paid `3 lakh for it. “We’ve been farming on it for a IN what appeared to be an attempt long time. When our standing crop to normalise excesses, the Guna was destroyed by a JCB, we didn’t district administration in Madhya have any option other than comPradesh on Wednesday defended mitting suicide. We’ve a debt burpolice assaults on a Dalit couple den of `3 lakh,” the couple Ram who had attempted suiKumar and Savitri Bai cide after their standing said. The JCB was brought crops were crushed to in as the revenue departevict them. ment wanted them evicted When our crop The state government was destroyed by to build a boundary wall. later tried to limit damage Before his suspension, a JCB, we didn’t by suspending the Guna Collector S Vishwanath have any option District Collector and SP said, “Our team acted only other than committing while ordering a high level after the couple consumed suicide probe. The assault took pesticide to rush them to place in the Jagatpur hospital. Had they not actRam Kumar and Chak area of Guna on ed, the couple could have Savitri Bai Tuesday The couple’s chil. died and the situation dren were also manhandled and snowballed. The couple is now out their relatives allegedly assaulted of danger.” According to the adby the police. ministration, around 45 bighas While the revenue department land on the site was grabbed by loclaimed the family was squatting cal mafia don Gabbu Pardi. He on land allotted for a college, the loaned `3 lakh to the Dalit family Dalits claimed they were doing and used them as a front to prevent share-cropping on the land since eviction, the sources claimed. E X P R E S S N E W S S E R V I C E @ Bhopal Limited (KSITIL), where Sivasankar was the chairman. Swapna had worked there before being shunted out for her alleged role in smuggling. Meanwhile, Chief Secretary E X P R E S S N E W S S E R V I C E @T’Puram THE Covid-19 situation in the state turned grim with the revelation that 60 per cent of the infected persons were asymptomatic. Cases due to local transmission also registered a new high on Wednesday as 432 people contracted the vir us through primary or secondary contact. While the source of infection remains unknown in 37 patients, new cases crossed the 600-mark for the second consecutive day with 623. Thiruvananthapuram remains a major concern with 157 new cases, of which 137 resulted from local contact. As many as 61 employees of a supermarket tested positive in the capital city . RESULTS OUT 99.28% SUCCESS RATE FOR TVM REGION: CBSE X EXAMS Students from Kerala and Lakshadweep once again recorded the highest success rate among various regions in the country. The all-India pass percentage stood at 91.46% 85.13% STUDENTS PASS STATE PLUS-TWO TEST The success rate this time is 0.8% higher than last year’s pass percentage of 84.33. Of the 3.75 lakh students who appeared for the exam, 3.19 lakh passed EMPLOYMENT IS A MIRAGE IN RURAL JHARKHAND P8 Ex-priest seeks to marry rape survivor ROBIN Vadakkumcheril, former vicar of St Sebastian Church, Kottiyoor, who was convicted of raping a minor, approached the Kerala High Court on Wednesday seeking a two-month interim bail to marry the survivor, who is now 20. Robin said the Pope has dispensed him from all priestly obligations including celibacy, hence nothing stops him from getting married. He added their three- Sivasankar had asked him to check the availability of the apartment saying it was for his friend and family . As per the screenshot of the ch at b e t we e n A r u n a n d Sivasankar which is now in the public domain, the latter had asked Arun to check for a two-bedroom service apartment from May 31 for a maximum of six days. Since the new place was not ready the family re, quired a temporary stay for six days. The rent was apparently negotiated by Arun on behalf of Sivasankar. The Customs had earlier found out that the conspiracy to smuggle gold was hatched in ● More on P4 this apartment. 60% patients in state asymptomatic CONVICT’S BAIL PLEA E X P R E S S N E W S S E R V I C E @ Kochi Vishwas Mehta is expected to submit a report on Sivasankar soon. The revelations made by A r u n d i re c t ly p o i n t s t o Sivasankar’s role in the issue. According to him, the apartment near the Secretariat was taken on rent for S w a p n a ’s h u s b a n d Jayashankar. The Customs had earlier received information that an official named Arun was the one who arranged the apartment. Its caretaker had claimed that Arun introduced himself as an official at the CMO and placed a query for taking an apartment on rent. Arun told mediapersons that he was the one who contacted the caretaker. Arun said year-old child is in a children’s a baby boy on February 2, 2017. home in Kannur under the superRobin stated in the petition that vision of the Child Welfare though the families of both Committee (CWC). The Pochim and the survivor had so special court in Thalasrepeatedly approached the sery had sentenced Robin CWC seeking custody of to 20 years’ rigorous imthe child, it was denied prisonment and slapped a saying that they were not `3-lakh fine on him. married. Robin According to the prosecuThe panel further stated tion, the first accused lured Vadakkumcheril since the father of the child the survivor to his bedroom is a prisoner, the custody in May 2016 and raped her. The girl application could not be consid● More on P4 became pregnant and gave birth to ered on merit. MAJOR CONCERN with 432oftoWednesday’s 37casesinfection 623 fresh cases unknown were due local spread sources of The state’s death toll goes up to 35 HC BANS PROTESTS TILL JULY 31: Kochi: The High Court on Wednesday banned all types of demonstrations, processions and agitations till July 31. The court also directed the state government and the state police chief to take preventive measures to ensure such gatherings do not take place and political parties do not violate the guidelines issued by the National Disaster Management Authority as part of measures to contain Covid-19 and the court’s order in this regard. The order came on the day when new Covid-19 cases in the state crossed the 600-mark for the second consecutive day. Wayanad has been put on high alert as the district shares borders with Tamil Nadu and Karnataka. The BSF camp in Thrissur and the ITBP camp in Alappuzha are the two other areas of concern. Further restrictions will be enforced in Kan- nur with cases increasing among services personnel there. While the coastal belt in the capital remains critical, the virus spread further in Aluva municipality and Chellanam and Keezhmad panchayats in ● More on P4 Ernakulam.
Express Publications (Madurai) Pvt Limited publishes the prestigious English language newspaper The New Indian Express from 29 centres in Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, Kerala and Orissa.
Express Publications (Madurai) Pvt. Ltd. also publishes The Morning Standard from Delhi, Tamil daily Dinamani and Malayalam Vaarika (Malayalam) Magazine.